Josephine McKenna, Religion News Service

Josephine McKenna writes for Religion News Service.

Posts By This Author

Trump's Refugee Ban Keeps Human Rights Leader From Receiving Award

Image via Creative Commons/Dragan Tatic

As the only female Yazidi in the Iraqi Parliament, Dakhil fought tirelessly for international assistance to stop the violence, including sexual slavery, targeting her beleaguered people.

Now she has been awarded the Lantos Human Rights Prize in Washington, D.C. But she is unlikely to make the ceremony on Feb. 8, since President Donald Trump banned all travelers from Iraq.

Christian Refugees Will Suffer From Trump Ban, Say Iraqi Catholic Leaders

Image Via Reuters/Ahmed Jadallah

In other comments published Monday, Chaldean Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako of Baghdad also said Trump’s policy of preferential immigration for Christians was a “trap” and would “create and feed” tensions with Muslims. 

Pope Francis Urges Media to 'Engage in Constructive Forms of Communication'

Image via  Giulio Napolitano/ Shutterstock 

In a powerfully worded message, the pope said he wanted to encourage media professionals to engage in “constructive forms of communication that reject prejudice” and help create a world of “realism and trust.” 

The pope’s message came days after President Trump launched a bitter attack on news media over its reporting on the size of his inauguration crowd. 

In his message, Francis said he was concerned about the focus on “bad news” that included “wars, terrorism, scandals and all sorts of human failure” by a media industry that thinks good news doesn’t sell and where the “tragedy of human suffering and the mystery of evil” easily become entertainment. 

Pope Francis: Jesus Was a Migrant Like Today's Refugees

Image via RNS/Reuters/Umit Bektas

As Pope Francis officially opened this year’s Christmas Nativity scene in St. Peter’s Square, he said Jesus was a “migrant” who reminds us of the plight of today’s refugees.

Francis told donors who contributed both the Nativity set and an 82-foot tree that the story of Jesus’ birth echoes the “tragic reality of migrants, on boats, making their way toward Italy,” from the Middle East and Africa today.

Outcry Greets Vatican Decision to Reaffirm Ban on Gay Priests

Image via RNS/Reuters/Alessandro Bianchi

“Pope Francis has a lot of explaining to do by approving the newest Vatican instruction,” said Francis DeBernardo, executive director of New Ways Ministry, which campaigns for LGBT rights in the church.

“Francis’ famous ‘Who am I to judge?’ statement in 2013 was made in response to a question about gay men in the priesthood,” DeBernardo said. “That response indicated very plainly that he did not have a problem with a gay priest’s sexual orientation.

Vatican Launches Website in Response to Clergy Sex Scandals

Image via RNS/Creative Commons image by Stefano Rellandini

The Vatican has launched a website as part of its efforts to protect children from clerical sexual abuse and promote healing and reconciliation.

It’s the first time that the Vatican has published resources and documents on the issue, and the site is sponsored by the commission set up by Pope Francis to protect minors.

Oklahoma City Priest Declared First U.S. Martyr by Pope Francis

Image via RNS/Archdiocese of Oklahoma City

An American missionary priest, killed in Guatemala in 1981, has moved a step closer to being named a Catholic saint, after Pope Francis declared him the first-ever American martyr.

The Rev. Stanley Rother, a priest from the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City, served for nearly 15 years in Guatemala before being shot dead, during the country’s bloody civil war that divided the country from 1960 to 1996.

Pope Francis Meets Ex-Priests in Gesture of Mercy

Image via RNS/Reuters/Tony Gentile

Pope Francis on [Nov. 11] made a surprise visit to meet several men who took the controversial step of leaving the priesthood and starting a family.

A Vatican statement said the pope left his residence in the afternoon and traveled to an apartment on the outskirts of Rome, where he met seven men who had left the priesthood in recent years. The pontiff also met their families.

Pope Francis Reminds Donald Trump Not to Forget the Poor

Image via RNS/Reuters/Ettore Ferrari/Pool

In an interview conducted on Nov. 7, on the eve of the election, and published Friday by an Italian daily, the Argentine pope declined to make any judgment about Trump.

“I do not judge people or politicians,” the pope told Eugenio Scalfari of La Repubblica when asked what he thought of Trump. “I only want to understand what suffering their behavior causes to the poor and the excluded.”

Italian Quake Destroys Historic Catholic Landmarks

Image via RNS/Reuters/Remo Casilli

The strongest earthquake to strike Italy in more than three decades claimed no lives, but struck at the heart of the country’s vast religious and cultural heritage.

The Oct. 30 quake, which measured 6.6 magnitude according to the U.S. Geological Survey, was stronger than the one that killed almost 300 people on Aug. 24, and it struck a region already shaken by tremors last week.

Subscribe